Hello Project Ezra! I’m running a little late this week due to some big events at work, but I’m excited about this week’s reading. Revelation 5 takes us to the throne room of God at the time of the final judgment, and the end of the world. Although the passage is highly symbolic, and much of the book of Revelation is, it makes a very strong point that needs to be at the center of all our gospel proclamation. That is the person of Jesus Christ as God, and the ransom He paid on the cross. It is impossible to take an unbiased look at this chapter and not see Jesus as God in the flesh, and as our only means of salvation.
The verse we will be focusing on the most is verse 9, where the four living creatures are singing Christ’s praises as He who is worthy to open the scroll, because by His sacrifice He ransomed a people for God from every tribe, language, nation and people. It is the fact of that ransom, that legal remedy paid which satisfied God’s holiness and justice, that is most frequently missing from modern day gospel presentations. Without an understanding of the depth of our sin and the judgment we deserve because of that sin, the cross makes no sense, and the exclusivity of the Christian faith makes even less sense. And without understanding the truth of who God is, and the deity of Jesus Christ, the full impact of His sacrifice cannot be understood.
By God’s grace, and your faithfulness, I pray that this reading will help with that understanding.
As we near the holiday season, we will be preparing for several special readings. We will have a Black Friday reading (the day after Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the year, at least here in the States), our True Gift of Christmas reading (when we will have groups reading the entire gospel of John) during the week before Christmas, and a New Year’s reading. Now is the time to start encouraging others to join you for one of these readings, and to introduce them to Project Ezra. I will try to put up an introductory video in the next few days, something that you can send to people who want to know what our group is about. I’ll also have the events up on Facebook soon, so stay tuned.
Finally, I pray that your Halloween weekend readings went well. We have not gotten many posts yet, and it would be a great encouragement to hear how your readings went. Ours locally, which we did the Saturday before Halloween, when our local bars and clubs had most of their parties, was very intense, but very good. We had two members of our team, Amanda and Jared, open-air for the first time. Both did a great job and it’s always a huge encouragement to see someone break the sound barrier for the first time. We hope to have video up in the near future, but there is a huge amount of footage to sort through. Please pray for our videographer, Jared Duba, that he will have the wisdom to pick the footage that will be most encouraging, and give God the most glory. You can view last year’s video, which he also did, here:
I pray this reading is a blessing.
READ REVELATION 5
If you have not heard Revelation read before, some of this material may seem odd to you. The book of Revelation is highly symbolic, and can sometimes be hard to understand
However, you don’t have to understand every detail of this book, or of the rest of the Bible, to understand the focus of it, and it’s primary message.
The primary message of God’s word is His salvation of His people, which He accomplished through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In this passage Jesus Christ is described as a lamb, standing as if slain. I the history of the Jews, a perfect lamb was sacrificed in the temple every year to atone for the sins of the people.
In this passage the Lamb is the only one found worthy to stand before the throne of God, and open the scroll
We are told He is worthy because it was by His blood that God’s people were ransomed.
The death and resurrection of Christ for the salvation of His people, to ransom them from their sins, is the greatest act of mercy and love, in fact the greatest act of any kind, in the history of the world
Jesus Christ was more than just a man. He was God in human flesh. He was and is the Lord and ruler of all that exists.
John chapter 1 tells us that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
He is the creator and Lord of all that exists, and yet He chose to come to earth as a ransom for sin
The idea that God the Son would humble Himself, walk the earth, and die for sin should amaze you. If it does not, you have too low of view of who God is, and too low a view of your own sin, and the ransom that needed to be paid
We needed to be ransomed, because the Bible tells us that outside of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, we are slaves to sin.
If you are willing to look at yourself truthfully, you will know that is the case. You, and I, have sinned every day of our lives, and more times than we could count.
Look at yourself in light of God’s law, and you will see that you are guilty of sin. And if you look into your own heart, you will see that you cannot escape it. You are indeed sin’s slave, and need to be ransomed.
GO THROUGH GOD’S LAW TO BRING CONVICTION OF SIN
Because we are in sin, we deserve judgment. We deserve God’s anger and wrath. And we deserve punishment, which the Bible says will be in a place called hell.
Hell was created to punish the devil and his fallen angels, and those who deny God to live in their sin will be punished there for eternity
It is a place of darkness, and fire, and pain. It is separation from God’s goodness, and mercy and love, and being in the presence of His anger and wrath, and it will last for all of eternity.
But although we all deserve this punishment for our rebellion against God through sin, Christ paid our ransom!
Jesus, often called the Lamb of God because of His sacrifice, died on a Roman cross two thousand years ago, and then rose from the dead to defeat death and pay our fine.
The Bible says God’s mercy is great, but His justice is great as well. Both justice and mercy saw their ultimate expression on the cross.
The cross shows God’s justice in the punishment of sin, and His mercy and love in His sending His own Son to take that punishment.
So now you and I, though we were slaves to sin, can die to our sin and be alive in Christ
The Bible says that we are made right through repentance and faith.
To repent means to turn. You must turn from your sin, from those things that you know to be wrong.
And you must trust in Jesus Christ, and in Him alone. Only He died to pay the price for sin, and only He rose again, and sits at God’s right hand as our advocate.
Only through His righteousness, acting as payment for our sin, can we be seen as right on the final day, when we stand before God’s throne.